The OKC Thunder grabbed Isaiah Joe just before the 2022-23 season started, and he helped lift them to a 40-win season.
The story of Isaiah Joe is an interesting one. A former second-round pick to the 76ers, who many on draft night thought was a steal for Philly, found himself on the open market just days before the start of the 2022-23 NBA season. Rewind to July of 2022, and the OKC Thunder poached one of the 76ers’ top executives, Vince Rozman, in a deal that helped the organization’s scouting department.
With his prior 76er ties, Rozman is believed to be one of the catalysts for why the Oklahoma City Thunder picked up Isaiah Joe just before opening night. Joe inked a “Presti Special,” a multi-year deal in name only. The three-year contract has a non-guaranteed deal. With how Isaiah Joe played a year ago, this looks like one of the best bargains in the NBA.
For the OKC Thunder, Isaiah Joe posted nine points, two rebounds, and an assist per game while swiping nearly a steal per night. Joe lit it up from beyond the arc, shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc, including 48 percent in the corners and 40 percent above the break. While the perimeter is the bread and butter of his game, Joe shot 49 percent in the mid-range and 70 percent at the rim. On catch-and-shoot looks, Joe hit at a jaw-dropping 42 percent clip.
This season, according to Synergy, Joe ranks in the 82nd percentile in overall offense (1.098 points per possession), 90th percentile in the half-court setting (1.123 points per possession), 94th percentile on hand-offs, 98th percentile coming off screens, and actually thrived on both ends of the pick-and-roll (90th percentile as a handler, 88th percentile as a roll/pop partner).
Even defensively, despite his size limitations, Joe plays bigger than he is. Ranking in the 76th percentile in overall defense, 85th percentile in defending the pick-and-roll, and even in the 62nd percentile in defending isolation attempts.
The Oklahoma City Thunder desperately need shooting, and we see how the game opens up for their young core when you surround guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey with shooting,